Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mr. Winston Smith Goes to Washington

     Those of us on Twitter, especially those of us who aren't in the semen-spattered, shit-stained Big Tent of Hillary Clinton, have noticed something particularly pernicious going on in this election cycle: Censorship or what is known in the Twitter community (it even has its own hashtag): Shadowbanning. It's known by many other names such as stealth banning, hell banning but for the purposes of this exercise we'll just use shadowbanning.
     Now, shadowbanning, the censorship most commonly used by Twitter's automatic algorithm, was set up to isolate and silence trolls (which, to judge by the Clinton and Trump supporters' constant engagements of Bernie and Jill backers, isn't working or isn't being used) and spammers (unlike the sanctioned spammers who pay to bother people with "sponsored content" or the official spamming and trolling given the little blue bird's housekeeping seal of approval). It's plainly been perverted from its original semi-noble use and is now used as a weapon for people to game (and it's absurdly simple to game an algorithm if you can get a few like-minded trolls on board with your agenda) and to silence those who hop on a hashtag that just happens to be popular. Just last month, my main account got censored for eight and a half days in a row just for tweeting about the Patriots-Texans game, so I guess I ran afoul of at least a few redneck Houston fans.
     Shadowbanning is a particularly craven and cowardly way to temporarily censor people, and the censorship always lasts for at least 24 hours, without suffering any comeuppance for their stalking and trolling. All they have to do is have you blocked enough times within a certain time and Twitter's algorithm brainlessly obliges these cowards. Or it could be Twitter has moderators whose sole job it is to find those using a certain hashtag, typically one embarrassing and unflattering to Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in general, and they do the banning. Whichever the scenario, blocking strangers you immediately decide you don't like has no downside because among the many things Twitter doesn't share with you (such as who blocks or mutes you) is who's clicking on your profile, the first step toward them blocking you.
     Either way it's happening, it's an incredibly cowardly way to silence those from the shadows of cyberspace who don't agree with you or management's political positions. Indeed, it can now be said that Twitter is no longer in the social networking business- They're now, as is Google, in the opinion-shaping business and that includes using sneaky weapons such as shadowbanning and manipulating autofills so the hashtag you're trying to use through autofill doesn't complete or gives you options that are similar but not the same as the actual hashtag that is often, if not always, much more active.
     For instance, today started out typically for me: I began using the #podestaemails12 hashtag and within minutes, my main account @jurassicpork59 was censored. Furious but undeterred, I went to my @mikeflannigan78 account and continued using the hashtag. Within mere minutes, that was censored. Now livid with rage, I went to a secret account I haven't told anyone about and within a half hour, that one was censored. I'm now using a fourth account and, so far, that one hasn't been shadowbanned (But the day is young).
     The easiest way to tell if you've been isolated from your followers is to look at your analytics. You can check those on both your Twitter feed using the analytics button or to go straight to your analytics page. If your once-heavily-trafficked account is now getting views in single and low double digits and if your timeline suddenly disappears from the analytics page, you've just been cravenly censored.
     Those of us who've been paying attention know that Twitter is completely in the tank for Hillary Clinton. Earlier this year, they hosted a fundraiser that Google, natch, doesn't want you to know about. And it's telling that I have never once heard of a Clinton surrogate or supporter to complain about being shadowbanned while many Bernie and Jill supporters (and quite a few right wingers like Scott Adams and Milo) have. While it's difficult for me to feel any sympathy for any right winger, especially a Trump backer, it's still unfair to them because everyone should have the right to express their political opinion regardless of how misinformed it may be.
     DailyKos noticed this last February, just days after Twitter founder Jack Dorsey had the audacity to lie his site wasn't censoring anyone. The question at the time was did Twitter executive Omid Kordestani and others censor the accounts of those using the enormously popular #WhichHillary hashtag and did it deliberately knock it from the top 10 trending hashtags? I was heavily using the hashtag that night myself until I got muzzled and soon a chorus of boos from mostly Bernie backers began to rise that they, too, were shadowbanned by Hillbot lurkers, possibly paid operatives, stalking the hashtag and those who used it.
     It's become screamingly obvious that Twitter's no longer interested in social networking, at least until Nov 8th, when I predict the censorship will suddenly subside to minimal levels, any more than Google's interested in giving people honest and comprehensive search results.
     And this shadowbanning of three of my accounts today (and two of them have very small followings, making this paranoid stalking of me and other Bernie and Jill backers ridiculous) seems to have a preemptive feel to it. After all, the third and final presidential debate is tonight, a night when people can usually clean up on "impressions" and even gain like-minded followers. And three of my accounts have already been neatly censored many hours in advance of it.
     So,at least until Election Day, when it won't matter what we say about Hillary whatever the outcome, it'll be, "#podestaemails12, @jurassicpork59 and @mikeflannigan78, unpersons. Shadowbanned."


At October 20, 2016 at 8:34 AM, Anonymous CC said...

Daily Kos is in the tank for Clinton, too.

I bet Stein and/or Johnson would have mentioned this and all the media outlets that are pro-Clinton had they been allowed into the debates.

At October 20, 2016 at 12:05 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Daily Kos has been in the tank for every Blue Dog Democrat since that wimp Kerry in 2004.


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